By Brooke Segal
Three days into our trip and I am still recovering from jet lag. Whether I am staying up till 4 a.m. due to the time change or pure excitement is yet to be determined. I arrived on Saturday at 9 a.m. after a long flight from Los Angeles. Upon arrival, a group of us from the program headed to St. George’s Market. I was overwhelmed (in a good way) with all the delicious food and colorful crafts. I am all for farmer’s markets in the US, but this market topped them all! Day 1 was concluded with walking the streets of Belfast and Victoria Square, getting acquainted with others, and trying to take everything in.
The last two days I have been trying to experience and understand the culture of Belfast. It is much more than yummy food and amazing architecture. Belfast is split by a “peace wall” between the Catholic and Protestant areas. Belfast has tensions within the communities as to what nationality each person is apart of. The gates on the peace lines are open till 6 p.m., making it very difficult for visitors on either side to make it back home after dark. It was a wake up call how thankful I am to live in a country where everyone accepts each other and no wall stands between neighborhoods. I still find it difficult trying to understand the hate people feel towards each other. I will never forget signing the peace wall, and everything it stood for.